The Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect (CIS) is a national initiative to collect data on children who come to the attention of a child welfare authority due to alleged or suspected abuse and/or neglect. The CIS examines the incidence of reported child maltreatment and the characteristics of the children and families investigated by child welfare authorities in the year the study is conducted.

-Canadian Child Welfare Research Portal

The 2019 public report is titled “Denouncing the Continued Overrepresentation of First Nations Children in Canadian Child Welfare.” The study was directed by the Assembly of First Nations with core funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada. It is a collaboration between FN/CIS research team and the First Nations Advisory Committee with the goals of:

  1. Monitoring National level data on investigations involving First Nations children compared to non-Indigenous children as intended by the Truth and Reconciliation’s calls to Action, including;

-Investigating the type and severity of maltreatment

-Documenting caregiver, household and child characteristics of families investigated

-monitoring short-term investigation outcomes such as placement and reunification

  1. Ensuring the appropriate contextualization of findings.
  2. Disseminate research results to First Nations communities.

The primary researcher, Dr Barbara Fallon from the University of Toronto, shared the overall findings for the national study virtually with our staff in October 2021. The 2019 CIS was the 4th national study and the third study in which our Agency participated. Overall, 16 First Nations agencies and 47 non-Indigenous agencies participated in the study that collected data over a three-month period (October to December 2019). First Nations children (aged 0-15) in Canada were 3.6 times as likely to be the subject of a child maltreatment related investigation compared to non-Indigenous children in 2019.

Of all investigations conducted by our Agency over the 3-month period, 276 were sampled for the study. Of these, 38% were Substantiated Investigations, and of these, Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence was the primary concern.

40.7% of the 276 investigations involved an indigenous child. The most frequently noted concerns or Risk Factors for the Primary Caregiver in all of the 276 investigations were being the victim of intimate partner violence, few social supports, mental health issues and alcohol abuse.

At the conclusion of the investigation, 31% of families were transferred for on-going child and family services. Out of all the sampled investigations, only 2.2% required out of home placements.

Nationally, 13% of investigations involving First Nations children resulted in an out of home placement compared to 4% for non-Indigenous children.

The link to the National FN/CIS 2019 study and report is here: Denouncing the Continued Overrepresentation of First Nations Children in Canadian Child Welfare: Findings from the First Nations/Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect-2019